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Musings on Travel



I wish I could come up with something brilliant to say about traveling. People always ask me why I want to go where I want to go. Can’t always answer.

2015 was a big year for travel for me. Costa Rica. Bhutan, Paris. Tallinn, Estonia, St Petersburg, Stockholm, Iceland and Myanmar with a weekends in Chicago, NYC and Austin, Texas.   I’d done blog posts or will do them on all these places.

In 2016 I’m going to be home more, processing and trying to make sense of the experiences I have had.

As a creative exercise to start the year, I am choosing interesting statements about travel and pairing each with an image from someplace I have visited around the world.

Hope you enjoy and comment in the comment section below if one of these “quotes” hits you in a thoughtful way.


1. The wish to travel seems to me characteristically human: the desire to move, to satisfy your curiosity or ease your fears, to change the circumstances of your life, to be a stranger, to make a friend, to experience an exotic landscape, to risk the unknown, to bear witness to the consequences, tragic or comic, of people possess by the narcissism of minor differences. The Tao of Travel by Paul Theroux.


2. Only a fool blames his bad vacation on the rain. To The Ends of the Earth by Robert D. Kaplan

Costa Rica


3. Luxury is the enemy of observation, a costly indulgence that induces such good feeling that you notice nothing. Ghost Train to the Eastern Star by Paul Theroux

photo 2
Costa Rica

4. Anything is possible on a train: a great meal, a binge, a visit from card players, an intrigue, a good night’s sleep, and strangers’ monologues framed like Russian short stories. Anything is possible, even the urge to get off. The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

Royal Scotsman Train, Scotland
Royal Scotsman, Scotland


5. “It is far easier to travel than to write about it.” David Livingstone.

Building under construction in Bangkok

6. An intense travel experience is not always a long one. The Tao of Travel by Paul Theroux

North Vietnam Mountain school
North Vietnam lady who blackens her teeth according to local custom.


7. Chekhov, on his way to Siberia in 1889. “I am not going for the sake of impressions or observations,” he wrote in a letter to a friend prior to his departure, “but simply for the sake of living for six months differently from how I have lived hitherto.” Anton Chekhov

Sign in Public Bathroom in Iceland

8. When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
Ansel Adams

The Bean, Chicago

9. Perhaps the future of the travel book is the travel blog, with all its elisions, colloquial tropes, and chatty stream of consciousness. The Tao of Travel by Paul Theroux



What is the story here?

10. One of the greatest rewards of travel is the return home to the reassurance of family and old friends, familiar sights and homely comforts and your own bed. The Happy Isles of Oceania by Paul Theroux

Lake Michigan
Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.

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